Decentralized Startup for Decentralized Apps: Interview with CEO of Lisk

Last Tuesday we reported that two team members of Crypti, a platform for decentralized applications, had left the project to create their own. The new fork of Crypti is called Lisk and also deals with dapps, however, the approach seems to be a bit different.

The project is going to be open source from the very beginning, while the management model is described as a “decentralized startup”:

“We are moving away from the foundation model to a Decentralized Startup. In the beginning there is Max as the CEO and Olivier as the CTO in the core team, but we will actively seek new team members in order to strengthen the team as soon as possible,” the company stated in their blog on Medium.

Max Kordek, CEO of Lisk

Max Kordek, CEO of Lisk

ForkLog talked with Max Kordek, co-founder and CEO of Lisk, to learn more about the project:

FL: What has been done so far for the project’s development?
MK: The decision to build Lisk came 6 weeks ago. During this time our main efforts were on setting up the whole ecosystem first. Therefore we couldn’t work as much on Lisk itself as we would have liked to. However, in spite of the short time we successfully implemented many new features already, including a complete rebranding of the client UI, cleanup of the old code base, a multi-language user interface (English, Chinese, German) and Forging Rewards (a way to make Lisk self-sufficient in the future).

In the future we will obviously add many more new features, just take a look at our roadmap.

FL: Does it mean that as Crypti is now open source, Lisk plans to incorporate some of its code?
MK: Yes, Lisk is built on top of the Crypti source code. We are using the non-released Crypti v0.5.5 client which removes the blockchain loading when you start the client. (Not to confuse with syncing). A Lisk test network is already up and running. Right now we are constantly adding new features and decentralized applications.

FL: Let’s pretend it’s four months forward. How would you at this time explain the positioning of Lisk vs. Crypti’s positioning?
MK: At that point of time the Lisk network is live already for over 3 months and will probably be the dominant platform between Crypti and Lisk, thanks to constant developments and client enhancements. We are also very optimistic that the ICO will bring in enough money to market our platform, get much traction and attract many JavaScript developers.

Within these 4 months we will have integrated many new features into the Lisk client. Amongst others:

  • Lazy loading of client assets (drastically improves the loading times).
  • Enhanced dashboard (price charts, news feed, integrated faucet and more).
  • Multi-lingual interface (English, Chinese, German, Russian, Spanish).
  • Interactive user guides within the client which explains all functionalities.
  • Several features implemented as dapps (user avatars, dapp store reviews/ratings).
  • IPFS integrated as a hosting solution.
  • A feature complete Dapp Store with updating, featured dapps, new categories and more.

Four months into the future we will feel comfortable enough – feature-wise – to go against Ethereum, and grab some market shares from them.
I’m very positive that at this point of time Lisk will be on several platforms and has established important partnerships.

FL: As far as I understand there are currently two of you in the project, Olivier Beddows and Max Kordek. What part each of you do?
MK: At Lisk I have the management and organizational role, i.e. I’m the CEO. I make the plans, write blog articles, communicate with our users, get new partnerships, have interviews and get news articles.

Partly, I also take care of frontend development, either of the Lisk website or the client. The next development task I will take care of are interactive user-guides right within the Lisk client.

Olivier is the CTO, that means he will be the head of development. He is a full stack developer with over 15 years of experience. He is an awesome developer and partner. We work really great together and made huge progress in the past weeks at Lisk already.

Amongst many other things, he integrated the forging rewards into the Lisk core and also coded a big part of the multi-language user-interface.

FL: What kind of users you plan to involve in Lisk community?
MK: We truly epitomize the spirit of open source development and public collaboration. Everyone can help out building Lisk, either by writing tutorials, cutting videos, promoting the platform, supporting the community, being a country correspondent, or developing the core. They just need to get in contact with us. We really want to emphasize the open source development. We are public all the time, the source code is available on GitHub and we have bi-weekly community meetings on our Lisk Chat. Last week we also launched our public Trello board, in which users can track our progress and open tasks.

FL: As a matter of clarification, you told you planned to compete with Ethereum at some point of time, however Crypti and Ethereum are quite different projects. How exactly do you plan to compete?
MK: Yes, you are right. Crypti and Ethereum, that means also Lisk and Ethereum are quite different. But you can build decentralized apps with both of them. Lisk offers so many advantages over Ethereum for specific use-cases that we want to take over these markets which benefits from Lisk’s advantages.

To summarize a few of Lisk’s advantages:

  • Internet of Things based applications thanks to the small node requirements (I once ran a node on a 64MB ram VPS).
  • Applications with a huge feature set (games, prediction markets, distributed storage, social networks, etc.), because our system doesn’t require LISK for every operation (in the Ethereum network every operation needs ETH).
  • JavaScript developers and people who want to start something quickly. For real, Lisk is a hundred times easier to understand than Ethereum.

FL: If you don’t have to use any LISK Coin for fueling operations, who will then need the coin and what’s its function thereof within the ecosystem?
MK: Exactly, you don’t need the LISK tokens to “fuel” every single dapp operations. Lisk dapps are running by themselves, as long as people support them with nodes. People will need LISK to make transactions within the Lisk main blockchain ecosystem, to register usernames or delegates, to add contacts, and to add dapps to our Dapp Store. Additionally, I think that many dapps will use LISK as their token of choice, as we offer many easy-to-use API calls for that. LISK tokens are neatly integrated into the Dapp SDK and it’s very easy for developers to utilize them.

Therefore I strongly believe that there will be a lot of games and other applications using LISK.

FL: That’s quite an ambitious plan. Here’s the last question: Why have you chosen Lisk as the name for your new project?
MK: Lisk is a promising platform with a great team behind it, I think we can be ambitious! 🙂

Lisk comes from “Obelisk” which our logo maybe reflects. When you choose a name for your startup you have to take many aspects into account. You can’t choose a trademarked name, a great domain must be available and the name can’t be too long or confusing.

With Lisk we comply with those aspects. We think it’s an awesome name. Olivier and I had over 100 name suggestions and Lisk just sticked in our minds.

Appendix:

  • On February 10, the first public release of Lisk numbered 0.1.1 has been announced.
  • On February 11, the first decentralized application called “Lisk Guestbook” was registered at the Lisk Dapp Store.
  • Notably, the Crypti founder and lead developer, Boris Povod, has joined Lisk a few days ago as an advisor to consult the startup every now and then.
  • The project intends to hold an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) with 100 million LISK tokens subject to selling during the period from February 22 to March 21, 2016. The ICO will accept three cryptocurrencies in exchange for Lisk, namely Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Crypti.